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Reader to Reader

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Two men about 25 years old are standing in a short line at the beach, inching their way toward a soft-drink vendor. The sky is clear--with the exception of a thick haze settling over the downtown skyscrapers--and the temperature about a zillion degrees.

"So, when you going to ask her out?" asks the guy in the red swim trunks.

"I don't know," says his friend, who's wearing a blue suit with yellow stripes. Their skin is darkly tanned and glistens with a sheen of sweat.

"You ain't got all summer, you know," says the guy in red.

"I might go to Europe," says the guy in blue.

"So, ask her before you go. What's the big deal?"

They reach the head of the line and place their orders: large lemonade for the guy in red, large Coke for the other. They wait for their drinks.

"I don't want to get involved if I'm just gonna turn around and split," says the guy in blue. He hands the vendor five dollars, and indicates he's paying for both drinks.

"You're just asking her out, for Christ's sake," says red.

"I know," says his friend, "but you never know. She could be the one, know?"

"Yeah, well, then you should definitely ask her out."

"I don't know. Europe might be better for me."

"Europe's always gonna be there. This babe, well, you never know, right? Some other guys might come along, ask her out, she be gone when you return."

The guy in the striped suit looks at his friend momentarily, then sucks on his Coke and looks out toward the lake.

"If she's the one, she's the one, but getting involved right now would just fuck up my summer."

They start to walk gingerly back across the hot sand toward four men playing Frisbee.

"So, who do you know in Europe?" asks the guy in red.

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